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What Reasons Do the Unemployed Give for Turning Down a Job?

"I have enough money from unemployment insurance" is tied for the highest reason. Let's explore the implications.
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Reasons for Turning Down Job Offers

Axios reports about 1.8 million out-of-work Americans have turned down jobs because of the generosity of unemployment insurance benefits, according to Morning Consult poll results released Wednesday.

By the numbers: Morning Consult surveyed 5,000 U.S. adults from June 22-25, 2021.

  • Of those actively collecting unemployment benefits, 29% said they turned down job offers during the pandemic. In response to a follow-up question, 45% of that group said they turned down jobs specifically because of the generosity of the benefits.
  • Extrapolating from the 14.1 million adults collecting benefits as of June 19, Morning Consult concluded that 1.8 million people turned down job offers because of the benefits.

Expiring Unemployment Insurance Could Add Up to Nearly 2 Million Jobs This Year

Unemployment Recipientts Feel Pressure

Morning Consult reports Expiring Unemployment Insurance Could Add Up to Nearly 2 Million Jobs This Year

Most workers receiving unemployment insurance know that their benefits are about to expire, signaling that job acceptance and search practices are likely to change even before benefits actually expire. As of late June, 32% of UI recipients indicated that their benefits expired within a month, and an additional 37% said that their benefits would expire between one to two months. Taken together, 69% of all UI recipients believe and acknowledge that their benefits will expire by the end of August.

Similarly, 35% of all UI recipients feel a lot of pressure to find work, with those whose benefits are closer to expiring were more likely to feel a lot of pressure to find a job. Forty percent of those whose benefits expire within a month indicate that they feel a lot of pressure to find a job, compared to only 25% of respondents whose benefits expire over three months into the future.

This estimate of the impact of expiring unemployment benefits on job creation is broadly consistent with the share of surveyed UI recipients who plan on returning to look for work by the end of the year. While not as precise, roughly 85% of UI recipients who are not employed and not looking for work signal that they do not expect the barriers to looking for work to continue beyond the end of year, translating to an increase in the civilian labor force of 2.14 million workers by the end of the year.

Better Off Employed?

Over Hald of Unemployment Recipients

I am a bit skeptical of this poll in general.

How many people will be reluctant to admit they gamed the system?

If the poll extrapolates to 1.8 million out-of-work Americans have turned down jobs because of the generosity of unemployment insurance benefits, what's the real number?

That 56% say they were better off before is easier to believe. But I suspect some of that is the sheer stress of it all. If anything, I would have expected that number to be higher. 

Looking Ahead

Morning Consult estimates an increase in the civilian labor force of 2.14 million workers by the end of the year.

I expect much higher. 

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Employment will rise but if more people start looking than finding jobs, so will the unemployment rate. 

That's not a given however. 

How many millions of people at retirement age will stop looking and thus drop off the unemployment rolls once the only job possibility is McDonald's.

The competing forces are retirement, really looking for a job, and willingness to take any job.

We will have a far better handle on these questions in the report for August (on September 3), and the report for October (on November 5).

Meanwhile ....

The Fed is hell bent still on raising inflation despite the fact that 56% of those unemployed say they were better off before.

Does that portend for a strengthening recovery? I think not. 

For discussion of the inflation and wage aspect, please see Economic Nonsense is Extremely Well Anchored in Fantasyland, and Not Just at the Fed.

Addendum

A reader stated I was spreading "fake news" another said 13% is insignificant.  Strongly disagree.

It's 36% minimum dependent on unemployment insurance to be turning down jobs. 

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